I endorsed a wonderful and important book, Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God by Mark Gregory Karris. I recommend this book for your libraries.
Can we engage in prayer that is more effective, less harmful, and doesn’t make God look bad?
This workbook, alongside the book, Divine Echoes, will inform and equip both individuals and small groups to pray transformative and subversive prayers that will increase God’s shalom in the world. This study guide will also help readers develop their own theology of petitionary prayer while taking into account theodicy, social justice, and personal moral responsibility.
His proposals may shock you, but good medicine can sometimes do that. I highly recommend Mark’s book!”- Thomas Jay Oord , author of The Uncontrolling Love of God and 20+ other books
“Mark Karris makes accessible some of the most important thinking going on in the theological community today about God’s relationship to creation and the purposes of prayer. He will take you to a place where your prayers can be more honest, where God’s love is completely trustworthy, and where you enter into a deep partnership with God.” –Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration
I think Mark Karris’ book is extremely important for the church to read and understand. His premise that God is a God of uncontrolling love is right on target. His critique of my prayer at the Democratic National Convention was also right on target. If I had thought the thoughts that he had eloquently set down in his book, I would have prayed differently.” –Tony Campolo, speaker, author, sociologist, pastor, and social activist.
“What an important work of spiritual guidance…Karris teaches, with his vividly inviting prose and wise theology” Catherine Keller, George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School, author of On the Mystery: Discerning God in Process
As a life-long intercessor who doesn’t know how to pray (Rom. 8:26), I have nevertheless observed with Bishop Tutu that God does nothing in this world without a willing human partner. Mark Karris articulates this beautifully, developing a coherent theology and practice of petitionary prayer that honors the language of divine kenosis and human participation.-Brad Jersak, author of A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel
“This is one of the best books on prayer I have ever read.-J. D. Myers, author of What is Prayer? How to Pray to God Like You Talk to a Friend
“This is really a provocative and inspirational book!”-Bruce Epperly, author, or co-author, of over forty books, including Praying with Process Theology: Spiritual Practices for Personal and Planetary Healing
“This book should find a warm reception in congregational study-groups, seminaries and divinity schools, as well as with anyone genuinely interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of prayer.” –Owen F. Cummings, Academic Dean and Regents’ Professor of Theology at Mount Angel Seminary, author of over eighteen publications, including Thinking About Prayer
“Mark Karris asks the hard questions about prayer that many of us are afraid to ask. By appealing to both scripture and reason, he develops a new path forward, and illustrates it with practical applications involving situations we all face. If you struggle with petitionary prayer, as I do, you should really consider Karris’s approach, whether or not you end up adopting it as your own.” –Scott A. Davison, professor of philosophy Morehead State University, author of Petitionary Prayer: A Philosophical Investigation
“In Divine Echoes, Mark Karris masterfully breaks down the myths and mechanisms of praying for divine intervention. Drawing on the idea of essential kenosis, Karris offers a model for petitionary prayer that is powered by the uncontrolling love of God and enacted through the libertarian free will given to humankind. Instead of merely praying to God and hoping that God acts, Karris enjoins the reader to pray with God, partnering with the good work God is already bringing about in the world.”-R. Anderson Campbell, co-author of Praying for Justice: A Lectionary of Christian Concern
As a therapist and theologian Mark Karris is uniquely equipped to help us navigate perplexing questions about prayer… If you are skeptical or have given up on petitionary prayer, this book might help you renew your practice and see prayer in a whole new way. –Mark Scandrette, author of Belonging and Becoming and Practicing the Way of Jesus
Divine Echoes is an excellent and thought-provoking treatise on the topic of petitionary prayer! It is movingly written, well-researched, filled with down-to-earth anecdotes and gentle argumentation. Mark Karris speaks to the curious mind and the hungry heart, helping us enter into a sacred activity that helps complete our humanity and bring forth health, healing, and wholeness to the world.-Jay McDaniel, Professor of Religion, Hendrix College, author of Replanting Ourselves in Beauty: Toward an Ecological Civilization
“The personal and vulnerable stories shared, the compelling theological understanding of prayer presented, and a new and persuasive paradigm of petitionary prayer proposed makes this provocative book a work that belongs in everyone’s library.” –Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion, author or editor of more than a dozen books, more recently, Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love
Petitionary prayer is one of the Christian hard knots to untangle, for not only does it seem that petitionary prayers frequently go unanswered, but we presume that God can and should step in and unilaterally make things right. Karris, in a very readable and provocative book, helpfully challenges petitioners to be the very hands and feet of God in the world, implementing his loving concern for all. –Bruce R. Reichenbach, Professor Emeritus, Augsburg College, author of Divine Providence: God’s Love and Human Freedom
Mark Karris gives an important and practical lesson on prayer that will help us combine healing engagement in our broken world with honesty about who God is and how God works in the world. He impressively merges deep theology and practice. –Ted Grimsrud, Senior Professor of Peace Theology, Eastern Mennonite University, author of Embodying the Way of Jesus
“I am impressed with both the religious depth and the theological sophistication of this passionate interpretation of prayer. Many other readers will also find this a most helpful meditation on the meaning and power of petitionary prayer.” –John F. Haught, distinguished research professor, Georgetown University, author of Resting on the Future
“Most of us ignore or explain away the difficulties in Christian belief and practice. It is refreshing to find someone courageous and honest enough to investigate one such problem, that of the validity and purpose of prayer for others. This is a book which all thinking Christians should read! –Christopher Huggett, BA, MPhil, PGCertEd., Author of A Theology of Becoming
About the Author
Mark Gregory Karris is an ordained pastor, licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, musician, adjunct professor, and all around biophilic. He is the author of “Season of Heartbreak: Healing for the Heart, Brain, and Soul” (Kregel, 2017). He and his family live in San Diego, California.